Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony on lifting of sanctions on Russian firms

Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony on lifting of sanctions on Russian firms
© Anna Moneymaker

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBipartisan bill will help level the playing field for small businesses Republicans hammer HUD chief over sluggish rental aid Key GOP lawmaker backs Powell for another term as Fed chief MORE (D-Calif.) is reportedly in talks with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE about testifying before her committee about the Trump administration's decision to ease sanctions on companies tied to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with links to Vladimir Putin.

Politico and CNN report that Waters and Mnuchin spoke on Wednesday about possible dates for Mnuchin's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.


Waters told reporters on Wednesday that her committee would seek to understand why the Trump administration reduced sanctions on three companies after the billionaire reduced his ownership stake in the firms.

"The delisting of Deripaska was never really debated, so we're going to go after that as soon as we can get Mnuchin in," Waters said, according to CNN. "What we're going to do is we're going to get Mr. Mnuchin into the committee and ask him real pointed questions about delisting."

Representatives for Mnuchin and Waters did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill on Thursday. A Treasury spokesperson confirmed to Politico that the two spoke Wednesday about finding a “mutually agreeable date” for Mnuchin's testimony.

Waters, along with two other Democrats, sent a letter to Mnuchin in late January concerning the decision to lift the sanctions, but says that she has not yet received a response.

“Mr. Deripaska’s ownership stake, as well as benefits afforded to his associates, family members, and related entities, appears designed to allow him to retain significant influence, if not defacto control, over En+, Rusal, and ESE," the Democrats wrote last week in the letter.

“[M]any questions remain unanswered" about the terms under which the sanctions were lifted, the lawmakers added.

Waters is a vocal critic of the Trump administration and famously battled Mnuchin during a Financial Services panel hearing in 2017 during which the lawmaker went viral for "reclaiming [her] time" from Mnuchin during her question period.